How and why to achieve residential design excellence

Congratulations to the outstanding residential architects, designers and custom home builders who won Residential Design + Build's 2013 Design Excellence Awards. Only a small percentage of the projects entering the competition each year receive awards, which places the winners in an elite class of design and construction professionals in the housing industry. Well done and well earned, 2013 winners.


How did these projects win? They won because the project leaders listened to their clients and delivered their vision. I know this because throughout judging day this year, I listened to the judges repeatedly discuss how great it was that this builder or that architect listened to their clients, and how the design reflected the clients' wishes, and the result was a fabulous home to live in. The judges respect the ability of professionals who can put their egos aside and use their talent to create spaces that perfectly fit the clients' lifestyles, not their own pie-in-the-sky concepts. This year's winning projects represent different ways to blend pragmatic and beautiful.


Too often, however, it's only the beautiful projects that win awards or find their way onto magazine covers. These projects win, seemingly without any consideration of what a residential architect's job truly is, which is to deliver the clients' dream, not to impress magazine editors. After all, what good is a beautiful home if it's impractical or difficult to live in? 


Achieving excellence in residential design is important for the advancement and evolution of home design. Only when true residential design excellence is held high for others to appreciate and emulate can residential architecture continue to improve the lives of those who live within the homes created by those with the talent to blend their skills with their clients' visions.